Oily hair is just a big no-no. No matter who you are, pulling off the greasy look at the roots is tricky. That’s why the best dry shampoo has become such a beauty staple.
You can use the best shampoo for oily hair if you’re really struggling with excess oil, but having a really good dry shampoo in your arsenal is great for transitioning from one wash to the next. If you’re wondering if dry shampoo works, put your worries to one side. We are big believers in these hair conditioners.
But the best dry shampoos on the market are much more than a spray that removes oily hair. Don’t get us wrong, the good ones do it extremely well. But the best are smarter.
There are some that are specially formulated for fine hair that have been designed to not weigh hair down. Ones that don’t give off white dust but are darker to match your hair color. And then there are the super-duper clever ones that are like a conditioner for your scalp.
Like, say, the best shampoo for hair loss or the best purple shampoo for blondes, a great dry shampoo is a beauty investment worth making in our book. That’s why.
How does dry shampoo work?
“Hair follicles cover your scalp and produce not only hair, but also sebum,” explains Living Proof Pro expert and textured hair specialist Eroll Douglas. “Production of this natural oil is critical to softening hair texture and protecting the skin. But as you go into the day, your hair follicles can produce sebum that makes your hair look greasy. Simply put, the starches in dry shampoo formulas absorb the oil build-up in your hair. When your scalp produces excess oil, dry shampoo is a great way to hide oily hair.
“A good dry shampoo should absorb excess oil from your hair so it feels, smells, and looks clean,” adds Douglas. “Unfortunately, not all dry shampoos are concerned with ‘cleansing’ the hair, most absorb oil and sweat and leave behind a powdery residue that can sometimes be difficult to remove.
How to use dry shampoo properly
Of course, part of its appeal is the spraying, brushing and dashing through the door. But to avoid residue and keep your scalp in good condition is best practices such as dry shampoo.
In addition to finding the dry shampoo that best suits your hair color (Batista it’s a great lighter option for blondes, meanwhile Moroccanoil has one of our top picks for dry hair), always shake your dry shampoo before use and always hold it four to six inches from the roots when spraying.
Just like the old trick of applying the best foundation where you need it, the same should apply to dry shampoo. Spray only where the hair is greasiest (don’t overdo it on one patch). If you’re wondering how much dry shampoo to use, we recommend using it sparingly and concentrating.
Then, and this is the key part that many miss, you have to take a moment to set it up so that it actually works. Don’t run your hands over it right away. Doing so disrupts the work in progress. After you leave it on for a minute or two (go brush your teeth or put your shoes on) then you can start massaging it into the roots with your fingertips. Voilà! Renewed hair done right.
Douglas always recommends having a travel size dry shampoo with you at work or in your purse. He recommends using it after being outside, in the sun, after a workout, or at the beginning or end of the day. “Sweat pooling at the roots can make your hair greasy,” he says. “A quick refresher with a dry shampoo spray can have hair looking its best in less than a minute.” Make sure your hair is not too wet before using dry shampoo.
How often can you use it?
It all depends on your hair type, texture and regime. “The most important thing is to give your scalp a chance to breathe between washes, especially if the dry shampoo you’re using is mostly powder-based and doesn’t care about ‘cleansing’.
Although they mask the greasy look, they really shouldn’t replace regular shampoo. If you use it too often, the product will build up at the roots, which can cause itchiness and dandruff.
Best of 2022 dry shampoo:
Are you ready to shop our picks for the best? Here’s our Beauty Editor-approved edit of the best dry shampoos available right now. Our senior beauty editor (who admits to having pretty oily roots at times) tested each of the following, looking closely at how well it absorbs oil, scents, how it feels in the hair, and price.